DA calls for debate on the vacancy rate in government

By Jacques Smalle MPL, DA Provincial Leader:

The DA has written to the Deputy Speaker in the Provincial Legislature , Lehlogonolo Masoga to urgently call for a special sitting to debate the socking vacancy rate in various Limpopo government departments.

In a parliamentary reply to the DA, Limpopo Premier Stanley Mathabatha’s government indicates that it has failed to fill 37 senior vacancies and several officials have been moving from one position to another working in acting capacities despite occupying other positions in the same departments.

These key positions include Heads of Department, Legal administration, media liaison managers, parliamentary officers, managers in the fleet services, human resource, labour relations, debts services and traditional affairs officials. Some positions have been vacant since 2014.

This is a shocking case of the ANC not having a favourite cadre at hand to fill a post, and therefore letting vacancies deny people services.

The staff vacancy rate for the Limpopo Province, sits at 30.13% across the entire province which is the highest in country according to a report to the National Parliament’s portfolio committee on Public Service and Administration (DPSA).

Limpopo province’s overall vacancies increased at least 50 times, from 6.74% to 30.13% vacant, between April 2014 and January 2015. Declining service delivery to the people of Limpopo comes as a direct result of vacant positions in provincial departments, who continue to drag their feet in appointments of skilled and qualified officials.

The DA is deeply concerned that it takes Premier Mathabatha and his administration at least three years (36 months) to fill a post, which is in direct contravention with the national requirement of six months.

Furthermore, the tax-payer’s money estimated to be more than R5 million is being wasted for paying some officials for sit at home waiting for their cases to be resolved for more than a year now.

Six senior employees in the Office of the Premier as well as the former HOD and the CFO in the department of Sport, Arts and Culture were placed on suspension between 2013 and 2015 with full benefits and more than R4.8 million has been paid to these officials.

The reply further revels that the CFO was suspended for seven months due to poor performance and was paid more than R500 000, whilst the HOD was suspended for gross insubordination and gross negligence for 13 months and paid R1.1 million. These cases are yet to be finalized.

In terms of section 7(2)(c) of the Disciplinary Code and Procedures for the Public Service, prompt investigations must be conducted and disciplinary hearings must be held within 60 days from the date of suspension.

The government policy on disciplinary procedures indicates that cases must be finalized within 90 days but their cases took more than a year for the first disciplinary hearing to be conducted and yet to be finalized.

It is clear that ANC government shows little regards for government policies and for due and fair processes.

The DA urges the Acting Speaker to adhere to our call so that this crisis can be debated and solution can be implemented to ensure that quality services are accelerated to the people.